My husband and I recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary, which gave us the perfect excuse for a seaside break. We could only justify one night away (as we’re off on our next big trip soon – California baby!), and choosing where to go was easy – beautiful Camber Sands, and neigbouring Rye, in East Sussex. We actually got engaged on this beach, so it was the perfect choice for the occasion, but we also just love Camber Sands and haven’t been since I started this blog – so it’s great to be able to write about one of my favourite seaside destinations – as if you haven’t been you need to!
Camber Sands is a gorgeous part of the UK coastline. It’s part of East Sussex, but only just as it lies right by the border with Kent. Unlike most of the beaches in East Sussex, it’s a sandy beach and it’s the only place on this part of the coastline that you’ll find sand dunes – perfect for setting up camp for an all day picnic. It’s also huge – some five miles across – so even when it’s busy you can still claim some of it for yourself. That said, we love going out of peak season, as it’s just as beautiful but with far less people (I love it when you get a beach to yourself); October is an amazing time to go if you enjoy collecting shells (I become a little bit obsessed), as the beach is covered with them. And it’s only two hours from London, making it an easy day trip.
We arrived late morning and went for a long beach walk. We got lucky as the tide was far out, which meant we could walk all the way east – where the kite surfers play – and back west again, to where the River Rother meets the sea – which is always a bit quieter. It was a lovely day, chilly but clear, so we managed to spend a good two hours walking.
After our walk, we headed in to Rye – just 5 minutes drive from the beach. While there is an amazing hotel – The Gallivant – right by Camber Sands (we’ve not stayed there ourselves, but friends of ours have and love it), we have a tradition of staying in Rye – at the lovely Old Borough Arms – so we booked to stay here again, and were very happy that we did. It’s a charming bed & breakfast, with a handful of rooms right in the centre of Rye. The rooms are perfect for an overnight stay, and the owners & staff are extremely welcoming and friendly. The breakfast, which is included in the room price, is epic – my husband and I went for the full English and full vegetarian and they were both so good that I completely forgot to take a photo for this post – I would be the worst food blogger! But you get the picture (metaphorically…) – delicious.
The great thing about Rye is that you can just while away an afternoon shopping or sitting in one of the various amazing coffee and cake shops. There’s also Rye Castle Museum which is definitely worth a visit. As we’ve been a few times before, we did some shopping – highlights included The Shop Next Door to The George in Rye (new since we last visited) and the local chocolate shop – my sweet tooth is ridiculous. We then settled in to the bar at The Mermaid Inn – our favourite pub in Rye. It’s super old, dating back to the 12th century, and has a cosy bar, complete with beams, hops and the second widest fireplace in the country after Hampton Court Palace (check out my pub knowledge). It’s such a lovely place to relax after a long beach walk – and naturally we enjoyed a few drinks to celebrate the occasion. Sparkling wine featured, of course.
Dinner for the evening was at the The George Grill (the restaurant at luxury, boutique hotel The George in Rye) – another tradition of ours when in town. It is a lovely dining room, with a satisfying menu – and a wine menu with a whole section dedicated to local wines from Kent and Sussex. Naturally we supported the local economy, by indulging in some sparkling wine and a delicious bottle of Chapel Down Bacchus, and enjoyed a starter of scallops, and mains of lamb and steak, followed by tiramisu – all yummy. The staff were great, and even marked the occasion – which was a lovely touch.
I could write a lot more, but I feel Camber Sands & Rye are best discovered for yourself! The beach is stunning – every day of the year – and Rye is a treat. So my advice to you is to book yourself in for a weekend break at this seaside destination – you won’t be disappointed!